[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 22 (Monday, February 5, 2018)]
[Page S597]

                          RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, on Friday, the Trump administration 
declassified and released the contents of the deceptive Nunes memo. It 
is the latest distraction concocted by Republicans to protect the 
President of their party from the conclusions of a truly independent 
investigation. Shamefully, it is the latest abuse in a long line of 
partisan broadsides against the FBI, the Nation's premier law 
enforcement agency. These attacks erode faith in the rule of law.
  At least the American people can now see the Nunes memo for what it 
truly is: an impotent document of GOP talking points. Far from being 
the smoking gun that many Republicans, rightwing media outlets, and 
Russia-linked bots claimed it would be, the Nunes memo just blows 
smoke. It is full of misleading conclusions based on innuendo.
  What it does confirm does not vindicate the President or prove bias 
at the Department of Justice. It confirms that the Steele dossier was 
not the catalyst for the Russia investigation, debunking a favorite 
rightwing talking point. Let that sink in. The FBI was concerned about 
Trump campaign advisers linked to Putin's spy services before--let me 
repeat, before--the Steele dossier existed. This idea that the Steele 
dossier created all this is just plain wrong, and even their own memo 
admits it.
  The Nunes memo also confirms that a three-judge panel, on multiple 
occasions, thought it was in the best interest of our national security 
to monitor a Trump campaign adviser for his troubling links with the 
  Seeing as House Republicans saw fit to release the contents of their 
partisan memo, they should certainly support the release of the memo 
prepared by Ranking Member Schiff. If House Republicans had any 
semblance of fairness, they would vote to release the Schiff memo. It 
is based on the same underlying documents. If it was all right to 
release the Republican memo on these documents, it should be all right 
to release a Democratic memo based on the same documents.
  Meanwhile, President Trump still refuses to implement the sanctions 
that passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress. I have 
to say, if President Trump and his allies spent half the time standing 
up to Putin as they do attacking our own FBI, we might actually get 
somewhere with Putin. But the administration seems to fear doing 
anything to upset him. The American people ask: Why? Why is Donald 
Trump so afraid to upset Mr. Putin?
  What are they so afraid of? It is inexplicable to me that the 
President of the United States and his allies are far more concerned 
with attacking American law enforcement agencies than standing up to 
Russia. President Putin interfered with our sacred democratic process. 
The very process we exalt--correctly so--in our schools and teach our 
children is so wonderful, Putin is trying to make a sham of. He is 
trying to interfere with it. We hardly hear a peep out of President 
Trump and so many Republicans on this side of the aisle who used to go 
after Putin, to their credit, regularly.
  We have an investigation into the matter of Putin's engagement in our 
elections by one of the most trusted and nonpartisan civil servants in 
Washington, but because that investigation might include some 
wrongdoing by the President or his close associates, too many 
Republicans in Congress and, of course, the conservative media have 
turned on the FBI rather than on Putin.
  It is far more than disquieting. It is the worst place that partisan 
politics can go. The vital interests of our Nation are being subverted 
to the benefit of a foreign hostile power. A Congressman says that we 
are witnessing a ``coup'' on the House floor. A Senator floats the 
possibility of ``secret societies.'' The Speaker of the House suggests 
a ``cleanse'' of the FBI.
  For partisan reasons, the President and his allies in Congress are 
systematically trying to weaken America's faith in the rule of law, and 
to a large extent, sadly, the leaders of the Republican Party have been 
  A few notable exceptions, including my dear friend Senator John 
McCain, are speaking out about the real threat here--not the FBI, not 
our career law enforcement officials, not Special Counsel Mueller but 
President Putin and his war on democratic societies and democracy in 
  We desperately need more of our Republican friends to stand up and 
speak out, particularly the Republican leadership, because their 
silence is rapidly becoming complicit in the denigration of our 
Republic--something that is happening, unfortunately, before our very 
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). Without objection, it is so